Download e-book for kindle: American Prometheus: The triumph and tragedy of J. Robert by Bird K., Sherwin M.J.

By Bird K., Sherwin M.J.

ISBN-10: 0375726268

ISBN-13: 9780375726262

J. Robert Oppenheimer is likely one of the iconic figures of the 20 th century, a super physicist who led the hassle to construct the atomic bomb for his nation in a time of conflict, and who later discovered himself confronting the ethical outcomes of medical development. during this magisterial, acclaimed biography twenty-five years within the making, Kai poultry and Martin Sherwin catch Oppenheimer’s lifestyles and occasions, from his early profession to his critical function within the chilly struggle. this is often biography and heritage at its most interesting, riveting and deeply informative.

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Was it a fluke? Clearly we needed to do more, but with the best will in the world, no one was going to do lots of expensive molecular genetics just to test a fantasy of mine. So we needed a cheaper approach. I reasoned that sex ratios should be shaped by the rate at which people acquired new infections, and we could estimate that from the number of hosts that were infectious. Sean Nee and I formalized this mathematically, and then the search for data began. The data came in from collaborators over several years, mostly from populations of birds infected with malaria-like parasites.

I was a great deal more interested in her than in literature, but on this particular morning she told me about a weird biology book she’d had as a set text. I was surprised that a biology book would appear in a literature course, but she said that it was used to discuss the role of metaphor and then said, I believe without irony, that the author proposed that genes had emotions. We both laughed at this lunacy, and I suggested that she should read a sensible evolutionary thinker like Stephen Jay Gould.

What a revelation. It didn’t mention kakapo (of course), but here at least was a framework to explain them. I now spend my professional life thinking about infectious diseases the way The Selfish Gene taught me to think about kakapo. It turns out that selfish genery not only explains weirdos like kakapo, but also makes insights possible that escape conventional biomedicine. To explain why, I first need to describe kakapo. They are parrots which break all parrot records. They are the largest (big males weigh the same as a large cat) and the longest lived (an elderly bird found in 1975 is still alive).

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American Prometheus: The triumph and tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Bird K., Sherwin M.J.


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